Illinois state employee accused of stealing nearly $160,000 in funds meant for poor families

A former Illinois Department of Human Services employee stole almost $160,000 from a fund meant for needy families, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office said Thursday.

Amy J. Mueller, 40, of Highland, worked at the department’s Madison County Family Community Resource Center and created fake accounts using legitimate clients’ personal information, Madigan's office said. Mueller used the money, they said, for items including vacations, restaurant visits, massages, tanning sessions and trips to nail salons.

“This defendant was entrusted to help families in need but instead she stole thousands of dollars in state funds for personal use,” Madigan said in a prepared statement.

She worked for the department from 1998 to 2015. She stole about $159,222 from 2012 to 2015, they said.

Mueller was arraigned in Madison County Thursday morning on a series of charges: theft exceeding $100,000 of government money, aggravated identity theft, two counts of identity theft, five counts of official misconduct and three counts of wire fraud, Madigan's office said.

The charges carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison.

Mueller couldn't be immediately reached for comment. A photo of Mueller wasn't available.